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Tijuana-Flats-Chapter-11-closes-restaurants-sale-flatheads-LLC.jpg Tijuana Flats
Tijuana Flats announced Friday that it had closed 11 restaurants this past week, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sold to a new ownership group.

Tijuana Flats sells to new group, closes 11 restaurants and files Chap. 11

Florida-based fast-casual restaurant brand sells to Flatheads LLC; Joe Christina to remain CEO

Tijuana Flats has been acquired by a new ownership group, closed 11 restaurants this week and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company said Friday.

The Maitland, Fla.-based fast-casual concept said TJF USA LLC had sold to Flatheads LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Our company is excited by the new ownership group’s plan to reinvest, focus, and emphasize the things that originally brought so many people to love Tijuana Flats,” said Joe Christina, Tijuana Flats CEO, in a statement. “We understand the immediate financial actions taken by them to ensure the long-term health of this great and iconic brand.”

In conjunction with the ownership announcement, Tijuana Flats said Friday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and had closed 11 restaurants this week.

The company had reportedly closed four restaurants in the Jacksonville, Fla., market in February.

Tijuana Flats executives said the sale and subsequent bankruptcy filing are the culmination of a strategic review that started in November 2023, when the company began exploring various options that included a potential sale.

The restaurant closures were “a result of a unit-by-unit analysis of financial performance, occupancy costs, and market conditions,” the company said.

Flatheads LLC said in a statement that it recognized where Tijuana Flats stood and felt immediate action was needed to preserve the organization.

Christina, who joined the brand in November 2022, will remain as CEO of the company.

“Since joining the brand, I have been committed to leading with a vision to serve every guest the most flavorful Tex-Mex food and provide the best guest experience in the country,” Christina said.

Christina had overseen a new Tijuana Flats menu, effective April 1, and new packaging for take-out and delivery.

Flatheads has said it aimed to renew the brand’s focus on quality controls, speed of service, consistency of food, serving size, and improvement of the in-store experience. It said it plans to make renovations at many locations.

Tijuana Flats is a fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant founded in 1995 in Winter Park, Fla.. It has 65 company-owned locations throughout Florida, along with 26 franchised restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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